It’s a common misconception that women are only in horror films to scream. Not so – the genre has put women front and centre for decades, showing men a trick or two about conquering evil. In the terrifying new online seance chiller HOST, a group of female friends are left to deal with a malevolent spirit, while the sole male cast member runs shrieking into the night. Here’s a collection of some of the best fright flicks featuring fantastic female ensemble casts. Ladies, your time is now!
We Summon The Darkness (2019)
Alexandra Daddario stars in this rollicking Satanic panic horror thriller, about a trio of female heavy metal fans who, during an after party in a secluded mansion, dabble in deviltry and literally raise Hell. At one point Daddario says to a man telling her to be careful, “You don’t think we can fend for ourselves?” You go girl!
Black Christmas (1974)
Bob Clarke’s Canadian Christmas horror classic, a huge influence on the slasher genre, sees Olivia Hussey and her sorority sisters being plagued by obscene phone calls from a dangerous lunatic. Superman’s damsel in distress Margot Kidder is on scene-stealing form here, and doesn’t need a man in tights to rescue her.
The Descent (2005)
Talk about kick-ass strong female leads – a group of all-women cavers take on a load of slithering nasty creatures in Neil Marshall’s chock-full-of-shocks horror masterwork. The film is about as frightening as they come, and the women prove themselves a formidable match for the subterranean beasties.
The Craft (1996)
Welcome to the witching hour… Four high school students – Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Never Campbell and Rachel True – use spells and curses to get even with their foes – and boy, do they work! The film got a sequel this year – The Craft: Legacy – written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones.
House on Sorority Row (1982)
Take a group of sorority sisters, a prank gone wrong, and a graduation party, throw in a creepy killer dressed as a clown, and you have a prime slice of 80s female-centric slasher fun. Male actors in the credits are listed as ‘Guy at party’, ‘Guy eating sandwich’ and ‘Pig’. Figures.
Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
On the surface this looks like a typical Roger Corman teen horror, but it started out as a parody of those films, with a screenplay written by noted feminist author Rita Mae Brown. Director Amy Holden Jones was compelled to up the exploitation elements to keep the producers happy, but Slumber Party Massacre can still be seen as perhaps the first feminist slasher film.
The Initiation (1984)
Daphne Zuniga (The Fly 2), and her fellow would-be sorority sisters, show their mettle during a hazing initiation in a deserted shopping centre – where a killer is running amok. Be warned – this film features topless nudity – from a male hunk, who has an axe buried in his head.
Dario Argento’s classic chiller has a mostly female cast, and stars Jessica Harper as a new arrival at a ballet school, who discovers something ghastly is going on in the esteemed academy. Ballet dancers, witchcraft, grisly murders…
When gals gather online, they gossip and swap make-up tips, right? Wrong. In Rob Savage’s sensationally scary HOST, a group of friends instead decide to summon spirits from the other side, with disastrous results. Although initially spooked when things start going wrong, props to women for banding together to try and put evil back in its box. Lone male Teddy, on the other hand, is given the jitters by a musical box and shrieks like a Scream Queen of yore – the big softy!
HOST will be released in cinemas and on digital platforms on 4th December